- This article is about how to make the Windows installer; if you'd like just to use the installer, see Octave for Microsoft Windows.
GNU Octave is primarily developed on GNU/Linux and other POSIX compliant systems. There have been many efforts in the past to build ports of GNU Octave for Microsoft Windows. This page contains instructions about creating a Windows installer using mxe-octave (a fork of MXE). This means, the Microsoft Windows installer is cross-compiled using a GNU/Linux system.
- 1 Steps to create Windows Installer
- 2 Installing requirements of MXE Octave
- 3 Trying out cross-built Octave on Linux through VirtualBox
- 4 Footnotes
Steps to create Windows Installer
- Install all requirements of MXE Octave.
hg clone https://hg.octave.org/mxe-octave
make all nsis-installer
The current Windows installers are build in three "flavors": for common 64- and 32-bit systems ("w64" and "w32") and for 64-bit systems exceeding 32 GB of main memory to store large data structures ("w64-64").
./configure \ --enable-devel-tools \ --enable-binary-packages \ --with-ccache \ --enable-octave=<octave version> \ --enable-windows-64 \ --enable-64
./configure \ --enable-devel-tools \ --enable-binary-packages \ --with-ccache \ --enable-octave=<octave version> \ --enable-windows-64 \ --enable-64 \ --enable-fortran-int64
./configure \ --enable-devel-tools \ --enable-binary-packages \ --with-ccache \ --enable-octave=<octave version> \ --disable-windows-64
The individual options have the following meaning (see also
--enable-devel-tools: Include gdb and an MSYS shell in the binary.
- If you seriously want to work with gdb, you need
--disable-strip-dist-filesas configure option to keep debug symbols in the installed binaries for debugging on Windows. Beware as the total Octave distribution will be > 2 GB, the max. size for an NSIS installer. Your only options are to make 7z-dist, zip-dist or tar-dist installers.
- If you seriously want to work with gdb, you need
--enable-binary-packages: Cross-compile binary modules in Octave Forge packages. This saves time when installing them once the installation runs on Microsoft Windows.
--with-ccache: The usage of ccache may speed up repetitive compilation drastically.
--enable-octave=<octave version>: Build a specific version of GNU Octave, which can be one of:
releaseuse src/release-octave.mk, download and build the latest GNU Octave release.
defaultuses src/stable-octave.mk or src/default-octave.mk, respectively. This builds a self-created distribution tarball from the "stable" or "default" development branch of GNU Octave. See below for details.
--enable-windows-64: Build for 64-bit MS Windows.
--enable-64: Let Octave use 64-bit integers for indexing.
--enable-fortran-int64: Use 64-bit integers in Fortran code and especially in numerical library code.
make all 7z-dist,
make all tar-distor
make all zip-distinstead of
make all nsis-installerif you want to build just an archive of the files to install on Windows instead of an installer wizard.
- By default, packages will be built one at a time, but you may use
make JOBS=4(choose a number other than 4 that is appropriate for your system) to build each package in parallel. You may also combine this with the
-joption for Make to build more than one package at a time, but be careful as using
make -j4 JOBS=4can result in as many as 16 jobs running at once.
- Include gdb in the installer by running
make gdbbefore making the
Build installers for Octave development versions
- Build the "stable" or "default" Octave development branch on Linux (in separate source and build trees) including your favorite modifications and patches. Octave must be configured with Java support. How to do this depends on your Linux distribution, see Octave for GNU/Linux.
- Verify that Octave runs fine in Linux (for example using
make checkand by trying to run your build
- Create a distribution archive called "octave-<version>.tar.lz" in the top build directory with
make dist-lzip DIST_IGNORE_HG_STATE=1
- Move or copy "octave-<version>.tar.lz" to the <mxe-octave build>/pkg folder (or create a symbolic link to it).
- Follow the general steps and ensure the configuration with either of
- Move the final installer in <mxe-octave build>/dist/ to some Microsoft Windows machine (USB thumb drive, LAN copy, whatever) and install it "as usual". If you created an archive, using
make all 7z-distfor example, you'll have to manually create the desktop and start menu shortcuts (for GNU Octave and the MSYS-shell).
For next builds, mxe-octave is already configured and all dependencies have been built so the only thing to do is having a new Octave version + installer built:
- move/copy the dist archive from step 2 into mxe-octave's pkg subdir
- in <mxe-octave build> root dir do:
(to be sure mxe-octave picks up the new Octave archive). If you've renamed the dist archive, be sure it matches with the package name in src/default-octave.mk.
- If you have several mxe-octave build dirs (for e.g., stable and several development versions) it is handy to have a separate pkg subdir symlinked to from all mxe-octave build dirs. That will save a lot of downloading bandwidth.
- As of late Dec 2015, mxe-octave allows out-of-tree builds, which makes it a lot easier to build separate Octave versions with the same mxe-octave tree. (See http://hg.octave.org/mxe-octave/rev/0962acdde3be)
- To keep mxe-octave up-to-date, from time to time do:
hg -v pull hg -v update
- However, do not keep mxe-octave build dirs for too long. I'd suggest to wipe a build dir after at most two or three months and start over with a fresh clone a la Step 1.
- In the mean time, regularly clean up <mxe-octave build>/log to save disk space. After a first successful build there's no more use for the log subdirs for each package, so you can wipe them all.
It can happen that you meet problems with Java. To build Octave with Java support built-in, mxe-octave needs:
- A Java JDK (Java Development Kit) on the host system. IOW, the javac (Java compiler) and jar (Java archiver) executables should be in the PATH.
- Java include files for windows (win32, even for w64 builds). They should reside in "<mxe-octave build dir>/usr/x86_64-w64-mingw32/include/java/win32". If not present, mxe-octave downloads them but this can occasionally go wrong. On a multi-boot system a solution (note: dirty hack warning!) is symlinking to the Windows include files on the Windows partition from the mxe-octave location.
- The error message displayed by make is simply the last 10 lines of the log file. This may truncate the actual error message.
- Sometimes running "make" a second time without changing anything will fix the problem. In particular, autotools rebuilds some files in the first make which may cause the second make to succeed.
- If it is building Octave that failed, the source will be left in <mxe-octave build>/tmp-default-octave and it is possible to run "configure && make" in that directory.
- The configuration will be for the target system, not your own. In particular, if you have not installed all of the packages that MXE-octave installs, then your configuration will be different. However, some configuration variables will differ even if you have the same packages, and some compiler features may be available on the host system that are not available in cross-compile mode.
- A possible causes for build failure is having files in your local source or build directory that are not listed in the module.mk files; these are not copied into the dist archive.
- (philip, confirmed by oheim) On my core i5 desktop system with a fast SSD, mxe-octave builds usually fails at libmng, suspectedly because of a race condition related to disk I/O. A way to get past this is by specifying "make nsis-installer JOBS=1", if required repeatedly (sometimes 5 or 6 times), interrupting the build in the next step/dependency once libmng has been built fine, and restarting with "make nsis-installer JOBS=<higher number>". As of Dec. 2015 it is only libmng that has this issue.
Installing requirements of MXE Octave
MXE Octave requires a recent Unix system where all components as stated below are installed.
Debian (GNU/kFreeBSD & GNU/Linux)
aptitude install -R autoconf automake bash bison bzip2 \ cmake flex gettext git g++ intltool \ libffi-dev libtool libltdl-dev \ mercurial openssl libssl-dev \ libxml-parser-perl make patch perl \ pkg-config scons sed unzip wget \ xz-utils yasm autopoint zip
On 64-bit Debian, install also:
aptitude install -R g++-multilib libc6-dev-i386
If you are using Ubuntu, then you can do
apt-get install foo instead of
aptitude install -R foo.
On a fresh Linux Mint 16 x86_64, in addition to the above also install:
sudo apt-get install libc6-dev-i386 gcc-multilib libgmp3-dev libmpfr4 libmpfr-dev sudo apt-get build-dep gcc-4.8
If not installed you will get error messages like "/usr/include/stdc-predef.h:30:26: fatal error: bits/predefs.h: No such file or directory" or "/usr/bin/ld: skipping incompatible /usr/lib/gcc/x86_64-linux-gnu/4.8/libgcc.a when searching for -lgcc" when compiling ocaml-core. The packages libgmp3-dev libmpfr4 libmpfr-dev libmpc-dev are needed for compiling the build-gcc.
yum install autoconf automake bash bison bzip2 cmake \ flex gcc-c++ gettext git intltool make sed \ libffi-devel libtool openssl-devel patch perl pkgconfig \ scons yasm unzip wget xz
On 64-bit Fedora, there are open issues with the NSIS package.
pkg_add -r automake111 autoconf268 bash bison cmake \ flex gettext git gmake gsed intltool libffi libtool \ openssl patch perl p5-XML-Parser pkg-config \ scons unzip wget yasm
Ensure that /usr/local/bin precedes /usr/bin in your $PATH:
For C style shells, edit .cshrc
setenv PATH /usr/local/bin:$PATH
For Bourne shells, edit .profile
export PATH = /usr/local/bin:$PATH
On 64-bit FreeBSD, there are open issues with the NSIS package.
pacman-g2 -S autoconf automake bash bzip2 bison cmake \ flex gcc gettext git intltool make sed libffi libtool \ openssl patch perl perl-xml-parser pkgconfig \ scons unzip wget xz xz-lzma yasm
On 64-bit Frugalware, there are open issues with the NSIS package.
emerge sys-devel/autoconf sys-devel/automake \ app-shells/bash sys-devel/bison app-arch/bzip2 \ dev-util/cmake sys-devel/flex sys-devel/gcc \ sys-devel/gettext dev-vcs/git \ dev-util/intltool sys-devel/make sys-apps/sed \ dev-libs/libffi sys-devel/libtool dev-libs/openssl sys-devel/patch \ dev-lang/perl dev-perl/XML-Parser \ dev-util/pkgconfig dev-util/scons app-arch/unzip \ net-misc/wget app-arch/xz-utils dev-lang/yasm
Mac OS X
sudo port install autoconf automake bison cmake flex \ gettext git-core gsed intltool libffi libtool \ openssl p5-xml-parser pkgconfig scons \ wget xz yasm
Mac OS X versions ≤ 10.6 are no longer supported.
Make sure to update and upgrade packages as some of the default versions of packages are too old to work correctly.
mingw-get update mingw-get upgrade
And then get required packages.
mingw-get install autoconf bash msys-bison msys-flex gcc gcc-c++ \ gcc-fortran gettext msys-m4 msys-make msys-sed \ libiconv msys-openssl msys-patch msys-perl \ msys-libarchive msys-unzip msys-wget msys-bsdtar
You will also need to install Windows versions of Python and Ghostscript and ensure they are in visible in the PATH.
zypper install -R autoconf automake bash bison bzip2 \ cmake flex gcc-c++ gettext-tools git \ intltool libffi-devel libtool make openssl \ libopenssl-devel patch perl \ perl-XML-Parser pkg-config scons \ sed unzip wget xz yasm
On 64-bit openSUSE, install also:
zypper install -R gcc-32bit glibc-devel-32bit \ libgcc46-32bit libgomp46-32bit \ libstdc++46-devel-32bit
Trying out cross-built Octave on Linux through VirtualBox
Micosoft makes pre-built Windows 10 virtual disk images available for testing. While primarily meant for testing the MS-Edge browser, the license for these images does not limit the use of these images to just MS-Edge. So it is perfectly possible to also test Octave. There are several advantages:
- Rebooting from Linux to Windows isn't needed;
- The latest Windows 10 version is always available;
- Building the installer or zip/7z/<whatever> archives itself isn't needed. One can interrupt the build process after the entire installation of Octave has been made in the dist/octave subdirectory of mxe-octave, i.e., when the message "generating installer" (or "zip...") is shown, saving ~10-15 minutes.
Of course one an also install (or unpack) octave into the virtualized Windows 10.
- Install Virtualbox
- Grab a copy of the Windows 10 image here: https://developer.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-edge/tools/vms/
- Unpack and import the disk image into VirtualBox.
- In VirtualBox, select Settings | Shared folders and setup access from Windows 10 to the Linux subdir where you but mxe-octave. It is advised to make it read-only.
- Either install (or unpack) Octave into Windows 10, or
- Create a shortcut to octave.vbs in the dist/octave subdir on Linux.
- I adapted mxe-octave/binary-dist-rules.mk to have a consistent name for the dist/octave subdir (i.e., without time/date/bitwidth suffixes) so that in Windows the shortcut doesn't need adaptation after each cross-build action. Maybe it is better if binary-dist-rules.mk has a rule to create a symlink "dist/octave/" pointing to the latest cross-build.
- The image expires after 90 days. But if you make a VirtualBox snapshot it will last longer, and you don't need to uninstall Octave each time before installing a new build.
hg clone https://hg.octave.org/mxe-octave <name of mxe-octave build dir>to choose another directory.